Tra la la. It’s finally happening: the heady days of March in southern Ontario.
Oh sure, there have been blizzard warnings (and worse–actual blizzards!) the last three Wednesdays in a row, but that can’t drag me down because I know, with a cheesy song in my heart, that Spring is just around the corner.
That mythical, magical time that we collectively fool ourselves into thinking is in March–when actually, let’s face it people, it’s really May–but no matter, it’s time to start psyching ourselves up for it. Watching for any sign, no matter how teensy-weensy.
Is that an above zero Celcius breeze I feel tickling my neck?
Is that the asphalt/gravel on my driveway peeking through already?
How time flies (when one is pretending one is on vacation with the rest of the country, in the Caribbean)!
This is how we Canadians survive the winter: we pretend we live in Victoria, BC. We pretend winter only lasts from after Christmas until late February, unless of course that pesky rodent–friend to no one but The Weather Network (I mean, how can they lose?) on February 2–dooms us to what we all know is inevitable anyway:
that is, It’s Still Winter.
But, let’s not go there.
Surely, Spring is on its way. Just around the corner. Past that eight-foot high pile of dirty snow in the parking lot.
I can tell that Spring is nearly here by the way the complaining from my fellow Ontarians gets louder around this time in March. Even though we’ve barely had three weeks of real winter this year, it’s already begun with a vengeance. Yes indeedy, we love us some complaining about the weather.
It’s too CO-O-O-O-L-D! (Only Rolling Up The Rim appears to provoke any joy when it’s cold outside.)
Too much S-N-O-W-W-W-W-W!
Then, a few short months later:
It’s too HO-T-T-T-T!
It’s so H-U-U-U-U-MID!
No wonder Mother Nature is confused.
I can also tell it’s nearly Spring by the way the light changes. The changing light signals my urge to compulsively start sewing things for our vintage Boler travel trailer and our vintage, Fiat 500.
Useful things, like bunting and flowery pillow head rests.
I’m like a pregnant woman in her third trimester (or a Canadian on the brink of March).
I’m nesting, yep. God knows there are no birds doing that yet, even though, it’s practically (insert hysterical giggle here) Spring!
And, lest you think this is some sort of vintage-inspired female hysteria, men are not immune, either. Practical Man has been sniffing the air for weeks now. Air sniffing and more recently, hole drilling. Nary a maple tree in these parts is safe from his scrutiny.
It’s March after all. The season of joy, the season of nature’s bounty, the season of MAPLE SYRUP!
Oh sure, you need an ideal temperature of 3-4 degrees above zero during the day and 3-4 degrees below zero at night to produce the sap flow necessary for nature’s bounty.
No matter that it’s still -9 plus a windchill.
That doesn’t stop Practical Man from obsessively clicking over to The Weather Network and wielding his trusty tools until there is a tidy sap line just poised for a thaw.
Tra la la Spring: we are READY for you.
See you in May.
One more confirmation this week and with that post title:
Yes, indeedy, I am one of those strange, childless people.
Case in point: it’s October in southern Canada. The leaves have tarnished to beautiful shades of russet, scarlet, sunflower and indigo and the darkness has started descending before 7:00 pm. That’s right around the time my body starts poking me with messages of “why aren’t we in bed? It’s dark! Darkness means we should be in bed!”
My body is rather bossy when it comes to sleep. October also means that the time for hot summer nights with the sunroof open and the music loud, having my summer romance with my car is over, over, over.
Our vintage Fiat 500 has to snore away the winter in a cozy building (luckily, it only takes a tiny, tiny corner). No more waking up in the morning to open my eyes and admire the inside of our pudgy Boler travel trailer, resplendent in its vintage loveliness.
No air conditioning, tiny bed, avocado green appliances. A world of retro goodness all wrapped up in an adorable fibreglass shell. Love it, love it. This summer has been busy, what with re-building after the fire last November and the giant mole that’s been digging holes all across our lawn.
At least, I think it’s a giant mole.
It looks a lot like Practical Man grinning, atop a borrowed Kubota tractor, as he digs a ditch for a new power cable to the shop building.
All too soon, it will be winter. My vintage babies will be stowed away in their buildings, like hibernating bear cubs.
I picture them snoring which is perhaps unlikely, but so cute.
There they snore and sleep and sigh the winter away, cozy and warm. But, not as accessible to my every whim of affection.
The season of separation has barely begun but already I need to visit them, way across the yard, near the forest and all the nature.
And, possibly a man-eating cow.
I make the treacherous journey and then, I sit in them. I talk to them. I giggle a lot.
In the Boler, I dance and lounge on the couch and sometimes pretend I am Laurie Partridge from The Partridge Family.
Shoop, shoop. Sometimes, Zzzzzz, Zzzzz, if it’s nearly dark and my bossy body is insisting I should be in bed.
In the Fiat, I review double clutching (and sweat a bit about my first attempts at this next summer) and caress the steering wheel a little.
Okay, there might be some kissing involved.
But just on the door.
And the roof.
Strictly first base stuff.
I l-o-o-o-ve my vintage babies. I love real babies too. But, weird and childless as I am, I have noticed that vintage babies don’t grow up, leaving me in their newly-sophisticated dust. Vintage babies stay cute and portly, forever.
Even when they look slightly nose-y when shot at an angle that does not elevate their best features.
Zzzzzzzzzzz. Can’t wait for Spring.
“Could you call me Cordelia?”
Such was the plea of literary character, Anne of Green Gables, who disliked her plain name and was often in “the depths of despair”.
I’m not quite in “the depths” (it takes lack of sunshine and being out of ice cream to put me there), but I do get nervous when it comes to naming. After all, bad name-related things can happen to anyone, in real life and in literature . Kevin Henke’s loveable mouse, Chrysanthemum, who had always basked in her moniker, had a crisis when she went to school.
Who knew kindergarten mice could be so cruel?
I perhaps do more naming than the average person, although I don’t have children or pets. I write children’s stories (lots of loaded naming decisions there) and disguise my friends’ names for this blog (lots of amusing naming decisions there) and I have a mini collection of vintage vehicles. A vintage vehicle has such personality that I think it just naturally begs for a name.
If you think that’s ridiculous, remember, I have named derelict buildings that have tried to kill me and that I’ve known for a mere 30 seconds, too.
So, name the vehicles, I do. Even though, there are some that advise against it. They seem to think that
- it’s tacky and low-brow, or
- it’s sort of like naming a farmyard chicken or cow that you’re later going to eat for dinner.
Professional distance is the sensible advice one is given.
But, I’ve never been one for sensible advice. Even though, I have discovered that naming a car can be more than slightly dangerous to my heart, in case they happen to be lost in a fire.
Still, I persist. And now, I need your help.
First, a little background:
Naming our 1973 Beetle was easy: it was yellow and white and daisies are my favourite flower.
Said beloved car, lost in fire last November 24th. Slight pause for tissues here…
Okay, I’m back.
I’m pretty sure her spirit hangs out in the Boler when we’re not using it.
That makes me happy.
Another slight pause for tissues…
Our not-vintage, red, small SUV started off as “The Chariot of Fire” and got refined to “Harriet the Chariot” and now, simply shortened to “Harriet.”
Even Practical Man sometimes goes along with the naming of a practical vehicle. Especially when an attack deer hit Harriet last year and we nearly lost her, even though she had saved our lives just the day before in a wilderness survival dilemma of mythic proportions.
I really should buy stock in tissues.
Now, to the subject of my dilemma: our 1970 Fiat 500.
I wanted to pick a name that fit its diminutive size, Italian origins and my lean to the whimsical.
I ended up with Thumbellina, like Hans Christian Andersen’s tiny fairy. We spelled it deliberately wrong so we could use Bellina for everyday.
Bellina means approximately “small, cute, beauty”, in Italian.
But, now that the Fiat has been around for a while, it’s becoming more and more apparent that its name doesn’t quite suit.
Our 2013 Fiat 500 seems more like the Bellina of the family – small, cute, beautiful and BOSSY. She’s got a raging case of “BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!-you-have-had-your-seatbelt-off-for-exactly-2-seconds-BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!-to-drive-up-the-driveway-with-the-mail-and-I-am-going-to-BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP-until-you-put-it-back-on-BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!”
She just seems like a Bellina.
Bossy, bossy Bellina.
It even has alliteration, to which, you may remember, I am addicted.
For the 1970 Fiat, I’m leaning now towards Gnocchi.
It’s kind of shaped like a little gnocchi, isn’t it? And, I l-o-o-o-o-ove gnocchi. They’re like eating little pillows of heaven.
Even though, I realize that’s not grammatically-correct Italian. One car: but “gnocchi” is plural.
Little pillow (singular) of heaven, then.
Now, I’m befuddled. Is it low-brow and tacky to change a car’s name after it’s already been anointed?
I don’t know how you parents, with babies to name, can possibly commit. Should I:
- Stick with Bellina?
- Change to Gnocchi?
- Or, or, or, what about Polkadot?
As long as you don’t suggest Cordelia, I’m taking votes.
I picture myself with a fetching hair scarf and Sophia Loren sunglasses.
Even though Sophia Loren was a bit before my time and I’m not completely sure my pasty Anglo-Saxon complexion can pull off her sunglasses, I’m sure they are the height of Italian sophistication. So, I need some.
My fetching scarf is blowing gaily around me in the wind and I am mysteriously alluring (despite my slightly sunburned and freckly visage) behind my Sophia Loren sunglasses and I have really white teeth that sparkle in the lemon-scented sea air when I laugh, because we’re on the Amalfi Coast in Italy, of course. Perhaps David Rocco or that guy from Under the Tuscan Sun is there too. Who knows?
After all, it’s a 1970 Fiat 500 I’m driving. I am meant for the Amalfi Coast with its spectacular coastlines and James Bond-y scenes in elegant casinos.
Oh wait. James Bond was in Monaco, I think.
Anyway, close enough.
The Fiat is elegant with its cream paint, streamlined steering wheel and custom 70s-inspired, flowered seat covers.
Of course, there is no room for luggage inside my diminutive little Bellina. I mean, what if David Rocco or that guy from Under the Tuscan Sun are hitchhiking and require rescuing or topping up of their Limoncello? We need room in the “back seat” (and I use that term generously) for such opportune emergencies. Besides, Bellina is too busy being stylish and Italian to worry about sensible things like where to stuff the luggage. Charmingly impractical.
Not unlike the scarf that is barely clinging to my hair.
Hence, the vintage suitcase, which I found last week in a local thrift shop.
If we want to carry anything with us (picnic lunch, sun goo for my pasty complexion, white dresses in case we suddenly feel the urge to change wardrobe for a date with the guy from Under the Tuscan Sun), we need to do so on the exterior of the car with a vintage-appropriate luggage rack over the boot (that’s British for “trunk” because it sounds closer to what a European car should have than “trunk” and besides, I don’t know how to say boot or trunk in Italian). I have great plans to plaster the valise with stickers appropriate to world travellers like Bellina and me.
“Hey, Chris, let’s go to the County,” says my friend, Pippi (not really her name but it makes her more mysterious this way, don’t you think?) She is wearing a similarly fetching Roman Holiday-inspired get-up and we are headed to nearby Prince Edward County, Ontario. There is no Limoncello but they are known for their wine and we plan to amuse the Jaguars and Porsches by pulling up next to them in the parking lots, pretending we are one of them (when, it should be obvious that we are far better). After which, Pippi will sample the local grapes.
“My name is not Chris,” I inform her haughtily. “I am Pia. Do my sunglasses mean nothing to you?”
Pippi grins at me and I notice that her teeth are sparkling in the sun.
It’s not quite Amalfi, but it will do.